“Twist and Shout” – Director: Mark Beesley; Writer: Caitlin Meares
Several of the previews and promotions leading up this season of Ash Vs. Evil Dead emphasized that Ash’s mettle would be tested repeatedly this season, and none more so than in “Twist and Shout.” Not only does he find out Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) is possessed (and possibly really dead), but he also watches helplessly as his daughter, Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill), dies in his arms saving him from the Kandarian dagger Ruby (Lucy Lawless) has viciously thrown straight at him.
We know Ash (Bruce Campbell) can laugh, flirt, drink, swear, swagger, and of course, kill when needed. One thing he doesn’t do much of is cry. Brandy’s sacrifice changes that, as Ash not only lets the tears flow, but cries out in emotional pain.
For her part, Brandy has been a great character, showing herself to be Ash’s daughter and possibly a Kelly-in-training. The reveal at the end of the episode that she’s in The Rift, where we’d seen Kelly earlier, is a hopeful sign that both women aren’t really dead, just temporarily separated from their earthly bodies.
In the Evil Dead films, the souls of the possessed were revealed to be in torment in another dimension, though at the time, it wasn’t called a “rift” or given any name, really. We weren’t privy to where they were, only that the Kandarian demons who possessed their bodies also took the souls and tortured them as well. “Tales from the Rift” gave that place a name and also gave the Ghostbeaters a way to reach it. What remains to be seen is if Ash and Pablo (Ray Santiago) can get to the women’s souls in time to restore them to their earthly bodies before those bodies are otherwise destroyed. Yes, I know both women were stabbed fatally, but this is Ash Vs. Evil Dead and anything can happen, even time travel, so why not resurrection? I hope that’s one of El Brujo Especial’s powers. Get on it, Pablo!
As I mentioned in my last review/recap, I didn’t expect Kelly/Kaya’s secret would go undetected for long, and I was right. It’s a shame because DeLorenzo is doing nicely shaded work switching between Kelly’s more hyper persona and Kaya’s much more measured and determined mien. Ah, well. It would be nice if this show would let a few of its plot beats breathe a little more, but given the shortness of the season and the established careening pace, there’s really not time. On the one hand, I appreciate that they don’t pad the episodes with filler, but on the other, I’d like to see some of these awesome developments have time to play out so the impact of the reveal can hit the characters harder.
Finally, Ruby. Ruby, Ruby, Ruby. She’s evil in a way our previous Ruby wasn’t. It was fun seeing Ash vs. Ash again (hello, Army of Darkness!), but again, we didn’t get a lot of it because of the need to get to the season finale without the twin, I guess. Campbell was a delight to watch as he switched between Ash’s bravado and Fake Ash’s more subtle tones (although Fake Ash’s cries of “Mommy!” when he had to cut his chainsaw hand off was a ton of fun as well). Looking forward to Ash confronting Ruby over what she’s done. Stay tuned, as always!
Previously on Ash Vs. Evil Dead: Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) confronts Ruby (Lucy Lawless) and the two women have a battle royale. Sadly, Ruby gets the upper dagger and kills Kelly, then reads an incantation allowing Kaya to possess Kelly’s body. Ash (Bruce Campbell) meets several new Knights of Sumeria and takes them to see the Sumerian writing in the hardware store’s cellar. Pablo (Ray Santiago) shows up and can read the writing, opening The Rift between the human world and the darklands. Sadly, of all the new KOS, only Zoe (Emilia Burns) survives, and she’s traumatized by the experience. Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill) gets a break while everyone else runs around fighting demons. Kelly/Kaya shows up at Ash’s and lets him know she found the dagger. Ash doesn’t realize that’s not the real Kelly. D’oh!
Ash changes clothes and thanks Kelly/Kaya for finding the Kandarian “demon-poker.” Brandy wants to go to the school dance because Ms. Prevett/Ruby sent her a text to come, and Brandy has a plan. Ash says he will swoop in if he needs to. He asks Kelly/Kaya for her opinion, but instead of saying the plan is bad, as he expects, she says, “Let’s do it.” Brandy thanks her dad with a kiss on the cheek. Aw!
Meanwhile, Ruby is casting a spell on her spawn, which comes out of its cocoon naked and slimy like a Terminator. It’s another Ash! BLOODY OPENING CREDITS!
Ruby has waited for years for this, she says, but her baby has to look just like Ash; she hands him a hacksaw so he can saw off his chainsaw hand. He says pitifully, “This really hurts, mother.” Fake Ash is still a baby, basically.
Back at the cellar, Pablo is talking to Zoe; she’s very upset and he says he’s sorry about her friends. Pablo looks in the Rift and sees the real Kelly, who tells him what happened to her and that Ruby has the dagger. “I’m pretty sure I’m dead,” Kelly tells a shocked Pablo. Something in The Rift comes after Kelly, and The Rift closes. Pablo cries.
Ash, Kelly/Kaya and Brandy arrive at Brandy’s school dance. Some of the teens call out to “Ashy Slashy,” which brings the attention of the police, from whom Ash hides. Ash says he’s counting on Kelly/Kaya to watch after Brandy. Uh-oh.
Inside, teens are dancing to loud, thumping music. Kelly/Kaya tells Brandy she thinks Ash is acting strange, but Brandy remarks that “strange” is Ash’s default setting. The teens who noticed Ashy Slashy before see him again, but…that’s not Ash. Fake Ash tells them not to smoke “the dope.” Is this Opposite Day? He turns on his chainsaw and kills the teens. No one hears their dying screams because the dance music is so loud.
Ruby/Prevett does a Memoriam for Candy and Rachel; Brandy is saddened to be reminded of their deaths. Ruby calls for a moment of silence, then sheds a crocodile tear. Kelly/Kaya encourages Brandy to go talk to Ruby, who says they should “go somewhere quiet”; Kelly/Kaya says she’ll be right behind. Yeah, I so don’t trust either of them.
Ash breaks into the back of the high school, then finds the bloody mess his latest evil twin left behind. He puts on his saw and, for extra security, a sports cup down his pants, then follows the bloody trail. He finds the dead teens; his demon twin is feasting on them. Ash is semi-surprised to see another clone. Fake Ash says Ash has gone soft; Ash immediately looks down at his crotch. A cop shows up just as Ash is preparing to fight Fake Ash, allowing Fake Ash to get away.
Ruby tells Brandy a great evil is coming and they need to stick together. She claims that Ash is the demon, not her, and that she was just trying to protect Brandy. Kelly/Kaya agrees with Ruby that it all started because Ash read from the Necronomicon. Brandy runs out in distress. Kelly/Kaya tells Ruby she thinks Brandy is steadfast and loyal to Ash, but Ruby says Kelly/Kaya just needs to keep pushing her.
In the hallway, Brandy finds a teen running away. Fake Ash asks Brandy for a hug. “Are…you all right?” she hesitates. Fake Ash says he’s afraid he’s been keeping a secret from her. She finds a dead boy that Fake Ash butchered for not wearing the right shoes; Fake Ash demons out and Brandy runs off in terror. Who knew any version of Ash could be so moral?
Ash wants to find Brandy, but the cop won’t let him. Kelly/Kaya says she thinks Ruby is going to kill Brandy, so Ash goes to save her and also warns Kelly/Kaya about the Fake Ash. A girl runs through the dance trying to warn everyone that a killer is loose; she tells Ruby as well, who agrees and kills her. Fake Ash shows up to the dance and starts slaughtering everyone while calling out for Brandy. The DJ of course doesn’t hear him. Brandy cries, while Ruby fakes sadness.
Pablo finally arrives at the dance to the sight of fleeing teens. He calls for his Jefe and finds Kelly/Kaya inside a classroom. He can’t believe it’s her, saying he thought she was in danger. He also says he wants to kiss her, and she hits on him, hard. Pablo head-butts Kelly/Kaya and pulls a gun. It was a trick; he says they already kissed; she admits she’s Kaya, not Kelly.
Ruby gives Brandy the dagger so she can defend herself against Ash. Ruby heads to the dance floor like she’s going to sacrifice herself to save Brandy, but Fake Ash leaves as Ash shows up. Brandy pulls the dagger on her father.
Back at the classroom, Kaya tells Pablo to go ahead and shoot her, and “put a hole in this pretty face you love so much.” Pablo is about to pull the trigger (NOO!) when Kaya hits the gun and wrestles it away from him. She runs out of bullets shooting at him and missing, though. Kaya is a Stormtrooper! Pablo runs off to find Ash.
Ruby goes right up to Ash and pulls the chainsaw into her own stomach, making it seem like Ash is goring her and proving Ash is a killer. The kids are all locked inside the gym thanks to Ruby, too, so they are forced to watch. In the halls, Pablo finds Fake Ash and calls him “Jefe.” “Jefe? I know that word. You just called me boss. Good thing I’m fluent in español.” Pablo starts telling him about Kaya/Kelly. Fake Ash touches Pablo, who realizes this Ash is a demon. Fake Ash hits Pablo hard.
Ruby finally stops milking the chainsaw moment and fakes her death, with her last words being, “Stop him.” Brandy advances on Ash but won’t give him the dagger. She flashes back to all the good times they’ve had and realizes she can’t kill her dad. She drops the dagger near Ruby’s body.
Just then, Pablo and Fake Ash show up. Brandy says, “What the hell?” Ash explains the twin issue, then blows off part of Fake Ash’s head. His second shot gets the rest. An enraged Ruby gets up with her intestines hanging out and grabs the dagger. She can’t believe Ash has triumphed yet again. “No one is that stupid or that lucky,” she hisses. Um, does she know Ash? Ruby throws the dagger straight at Ash and Brandy jumps in between the dagger and Ash. The dagger hits her in the back and the wound is fatal. She dies in Ash’s arms. He’s heartbroken.
Brandy wakes up alone in the same gym, but no one else is there. The atmosphere is green like inside The Rift. She asks if anyone is there, and there is something demonic in the shadows. She runs off screaming. End credits!
This week in Ash (and other) one-liners (plus other stuff I liked):
Fake Ash: “Spare the saw, spoil the child!”
“Security door, my dimpled butt!” Ash’s butt has dimples! So cute!
“Whoa. Another dumbass double.”
“Ruby went to Kandarian Kinkos and this asshole popped out.” Seriously, though, when will the demons realize cloning Ash simply doesn’t work?
Linda B. Watch: Linda B. does not appear or get mentioned. Ay yi yi.
This week in AvED music: “Ding Dong” by Damien N-Drix (“Ding dong, you’re dead!”) plays during the dance-floor slaughter. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult plays over the end credits. Hope that’s a hint that death isn’t final for Kelly and Brandy the way it wasn’t for Pablo (as far as we know in this timeline, at least).
All photos courtesy of Starz.